NBA News and Notes: Warriors off to strong start, Nuggets protest denied

November 28, 2016

The talent-rich Golden State Warriors have performed as expected thus far, putting up wins with almost no adjustment period needed for all the new faces.  That is scary for the rest of the NBA, since it is reasonable to believe that Golden State's team chemistry should improve as the season progresses.  For this and more NBA news, read below:

Warriors Rollin'

The Warriors have piled up eye-popping offensive numbers during their NBA-best 15-2 start, which includes an active 11-game winning streak.

Golden State leads the NBA with 118.4 points per game, 31.5 assists and 50.6 percent shooting from the field. If the Warriors sustain those numbers for the entire 2016-17 season, they would join elite company or make history.

No NBA team has averaged at least 115.0 points per game for a full season since the 1991-92 Warriors (118.7). The last team to shoot 50.6 percent or better from the field was the 1994-95 Jazz (51.2). And the Warriors are tracking slightly ahead of the NBA record for assist average, which is 31.4 by the 1984-85 Lakers.

Kevin Durant (27.2 ppg), Stephen Curry (26.7 ppg) and Klay Thompson (20.7 ppg) are all averaging more than 20.0 points for the Warriors, who are 7-0 when each scores at least 20.

Durant (57.4 percent) and Thompson (47.9) are shooting career highs from the field, and Curry (50.2) is over 50 percent for the second year in a row.

The Warriors look to extend their winning streak to 12 games when they host the Hawks tonight (10:30 p.m. ET, NBA LEAGUE PASS) in the second game of a five-game home stand.

On Thursday, Golden State faces the NBA’s third-ranked scoring offense, Houston, at 7:30 p.m. ET on TNT.

Talkin' Smack

Jeremy Woo, “The 2014 draft class has turned out very, very well, and not one, not two, but all three of its can’t-miss prospects are looking like, well, exactly that. … [T]he early polls are in on Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Joel Embiid and the results are overwhelmingly positive.”

Tim Cato, SB Nation: “This is the new reality for NBA defenses. Some of the league’s best big men fire up threes now. Leave them open at your own risk.”

Jonathan Tjarks, The Ringer: “Chris Paul exists outside of time. This is his sixth season with the Clippers, and his 12th in the NBA, yet he shows no signs of slowing down or having to adjust his game for age.”

Denver Nuggets' game protest denied

The National Basketball Association announced that it has denied the Denver Nuggets’ protest of their 108-107 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on November 8, 2016.

The basis for the Nuggets’ protest was that the Replay Center incorrectly awarded possession of the ball to Memphis with 0.7 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter after determining that the Nuggets’ Emmanuel Mudiay last touched the ball before it went out of bounds.

The league found that the Replay Center official confirmed the call made by the on-court officials after reviewing two angles of the play that appeared to show Mudiay touching the ball.

In order to avoid further delay of the game, the Replay Center official did not select additional angles of the play to review.  Following the game, one of those angles made clear that Mudiay did not in fact touch the ball and that possession should have been awarded to Denver.

The league determined that while the out-of-bounds call was incorrect, it was an error in judgment by the Replay Center official and not a misapplication of the playing rules – which is required under league rules to justify the extraordinary remedy of granting a game protest and overturning the game’s result.

The league stated it will review this matter from an operational standpoint to consider further improvements to the review process in order to reduce the likelihood of a similar error going forward.

Here's a simple solution: View all the angles.

If a game already is being halted to look at the replay, delay has already occurred.  At that point, what are a few additional minutes going to hurt?  The important thing is to get the call correct.

Kevin Durant and Kevin Love named NBA Players of the Week

The Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kevin Love and the Golden State Warriors’ Kevin Durant today were named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, Nov. 21 through Sunday, Nov. 27.

Love led the Cavaliers to a 3-0 week behind an East-leading 30.7 points to go with 9.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.3 steals.  He connected on 19-of-29 three-point attempts (65.5 percent) and made all 21 of his free-throw attempts.

On Nov. 23, Love scored a season-high 40 points, grabbed eight rebounds and handed out three assists in a 137-125 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.  Love set an NBA record with 34 first-quarter points, the second-highest total in any quarter in league history.

Durant helped the Warriors to a 4-0 week behind averages of 24.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 2.75 blocked shots (tied for second in the West).  He connected on 9-of-18 attempts (50.0 percent) from three-point range.

On Nov. 23, Durant scored 28 points (on 11-for-15 shooting from the field) and added six rebounds and five assists in a 149-106 win over the Los Angeles Lakers.  He closed the week with 28 points, 10 rebounds, a career-high six blocks and five assists as Golden State extended its winning streak to 11 games with a 115-102 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Nov. 26.

Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving and LeBron James, Golden State’s Stephen Curry, Houston’s James Harden, New Orleans’ Anthony Davis, New York’s Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis, Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid, Phoenix’s Eric Bledsoe, Portland’s Damian Lillard, Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins and Toronto’s Kyle Lowry.

The Numbers

San Antonio Spurs: They are the fifth team in NBA history to win 10 consecutive road games to start a season. The 10-game run also marks the longest single-season road winning streak in franchise history. San Antonio’s overall winning streak stands at nine games, and its 14-3 record is the second-best 17-game start in team history.

Russell Westbrook, Thunder: The Oklahoma City guard has joined Oscar Robertson as the only players in NBA history to record at least seven triple-doubles in their first 18 games of a season. Robertson had 12 triple-doubles in his first 18 games in 1961-62 – the same year he averaged a triple-double, the only player ever to do that. Westbrook’s current averages: 31.2 points, 11.1 assists and 9.9 rebounds.

Kevin Love, Cavaliers: He has hit 19-of-29 (65.5 percent) from three-point range in his last three games, with eight made triples coming during his NBA-record 34-point first quarter in a victory over the Trail Blazers on Nov. 23.

Mike Conley, Grizzlies: The Memphis guard is averaging 19.5 points, up from his single-season career high of 17.2 points, and shooting 47.6 percent from three-point range (fourth in the NBA), well above his career high of 40.6.

Glenn Robinson III, Pacers: Starting in place of Paul George, the 22-year-old forward scored a career-high 20 points in Friday’s win over the Nets and contributed 17 points in Sunday’s victory against the Clippers.

DeMarcus Cousins, Kings: Sacramento has won three of its last four games behind Cousins, who has scored at least 30 points in each of his last three games. In Sunday’s victory over the Nets, Cousins (8,847 points with the Kings) passed Chris Webber (8,843) for third place on the franchise’s Sacramento-era scoring list.

Anthony Davis, Pelicans: The NBA scoring leader (31.6 ppg) has racked up 424 points in November, a team record for a single month.

New York Knicks: The Knicks have won six consecutive home games and five of seven overall. They host Oklahoma City tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBA LEAGUE PASS.

Bradley Beal, Wizards: Since returning from a three-game absence, Beal is averaging 26.6 points on 49.5 percent shooting from the field in five games (3-2 for Washington).

LeBron James, Cavaliers: After passing Guy Rodgers for 17th place on the NBA’s all-time assists list, James (6,951) now needs five assists to pass Bob Cousy (6,955) for 16th.

Dwyane Wade, Bulls: Wade (20,504) has passed Mitch Richmond (20,497) for 38th place on the league’s career scoring list. He trails No. 37 George Gervin (20,708) by 204 points.

Wizards Beal fined

Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal has been fined $15,000 for grabbing at the throat of Orlando Magic guard/forward Evan Fournier, it was announced by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

The incident, for which Beal was assessed a technical foul, occurred with 7:40 remaining to play in the fourth quarter of the Wizards’ 94-91 win over the Magic on Nov. 25 at Amway Center.

To view the incident, click on the following link:

Xavier Munford named NBA D-League Performer of the Week

Xavier Munford of the Greensboro Swarm today was named NBA Development League Performer of the Week for games played Monday, Nov. 21, through Sunday, Nov. 27.

Munford (6-3, 180, Rhode Island) helped Greensboro to a 2-1 week behind averages of 27.7 points (fourth in the league), 4.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.7 steals. On Nov. 21, he scored a season-high 34 points on 13-of-26 shooting to go with three rebounds and three assists in a 116-111 loss to the Delaware 87ers. On Nov. 25, he recorded 26 points on 9-of-14 shooting to go with seven rebounds, four assists and four steals in a 109-88 victory over the Erie BayHawks.

Munford is in his third NBA D-League season and first with Greensboro. He is averaging 22.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.6 steals. Last season, Munford was selected to play in the NBA D-League All-Star Game as a member of the Bakersfield Jam before signing with the Memphis Grizzlies on March 16. He appeared in 14 games with the Grizzlies, averaging 5.7 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists.

Other top performers considered included Canton’s Chris Evans, Iowa’s Wayne Selden Jr., Los Angeles’ Josh Magette, Texas’ Manny Harris and Windy City’s J.J. Avila.

By Staff of and news services

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